The five-year agreement will see the top eight singles players and the top eight doubles teams competing for prize money of US$6.5 million. The announcement comes after a bidding process, which was narrowed down to three finalists from 43 international cities that expressed an interest.
The three finalists were Tianjin, China; Monterrey, Mexico; and Singapore. The winning bid from Singapore was represented by World Sport Group (WSG), with support from the Singapore Sports Council and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
Stacey Allaster, chairman and CEO of the WTA, noted that this partnership is the largest and most significant one in its history. The agreement will help build WTA’s presence in the Southeast Asia region, with Singapore as the gateway, she said.
The addition of Singapore to the WTA calendar also means 23 WTA events will be staged in the Asia-Pacific region in 2014. It marks the first time in WTA's history that there will be more tournaments in Asia than in other regions of the world.
Singapore will become the ninth city to host the WTA Championships.
Lionel Yeo, chief executive officer at STB, expects the event to draw local and foreign tennis fans and add to Singapore’s reputation as a vibrant global city. A tourism receipt of S$15 million (US$12.2 million) is expected per tournament, he noted.
The WTA Championships will be played at the 7500-seat Singapore Indoor Stadium, located within the soon-to-be-completed Singapore Sports Hub. The tournaments will also feature new events such as WTA Future Stars, WTA Legends exhibition matches, concerts, trade symposiums and the Women in Business Leadership Conference.
Lim Teck Yin, CEO at Singapore Sports Council, said the event would inspire the athletes in the country and in the region, as well as engage the local community.
“The Championships will herald a new phase of tennis development in Singapore, which will include enhanced capabilities in coaching and officiating for the benefit of all tennis enthusiasts,” he added.
Andrew Georgiou, CEO of World Sport Group, noted that the appointment reflects the country’s growing status as a global sports and entertainment destination.